Appeal for help to support vital witness service
AWITNESS service needs volunteers to help its vital work supporting people who give evidence in court.
People giving evidence in trials at Macclesfield Magistrates Court are supported by the team from the Witness Service.
It’s the team’s job to show witnesses around the court and explain what will happen in the hearings so that they feel confident to play their part in the courtroom.
But the service is struggling for volunteers to carry out its work, with some recent retirements from helpers.
Now manager Bebe Singer, who has been part of the service at Maccles- field for more than 10 years, is appealing for more volunteers to join the team.
Bebe said: “We are looking for volunteers to join us in helping victims and witnesses of crime who are coming to give evidence in court.
“Victims and witnesses may be very nervous and we receive a referral to say that they will need extra support when they come to court.
“We invite them into court before the hearing to show them around and tell them how things work.
“We will know all the witnesses who are due to come into court on a certain day, and the prosecution and defence have to be kept completely separate so as not to contaminate evidence.
“It can be very frightening to come into court but it’s so important that people come to give evidence.
“It’s an important part of the justice system that people feel comfortable to give evidence.”
Witness Service is a charitable service which is now run by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, after the organisation won the tender for the service and took over earlier this year.
It relies partly on fundraising and partly on government funding.
Bebe said: “There will be shadowing and training to do and we need people who can commit for at least a year.
“Anyone is welcome to apply to join the service but we need people with good people skills who know how to chat.
“It’s really rewarding work, it’s helping people and I love being part of the team.”
Bebe needs people to work about one day a week and urges people to get in touch.
Call Bebe on 0300 332 1265 on Tuesdays and Thursdays or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and apply.
●● Bebe Singer